We’ve reached the end of the NL Central, and with only one division left to cover I’d say it’s been a productive offseason. The redbirds are in good shape down on the farm – as you’d expect. The top two specs should be flipped and flopped according to your window of opportunity. Reyes will start contributing this season, while Gorman – who I think is the better overall prospect – won’t be ready for harvest until late 2021/2022. Since Opening Day is an ungodly March 28th this year (hooray for postponed games!) I’ll put out a list of prospects you should know for redrafts this Wednesday. Best thing to do is just stay seated and keep refreshing this site until then. No need to burn those precious calories moving.
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1. Nolan Gorman, 3B | Age: 18 | ETA: 2021
To give you an idea of how close Gorman and Reyes are in my mind, they’re ranked 28th and 33rd overall in my Top 100. You’re basically choosing between hitter/pitcher and far away/help me now. Gorman did unkind things to opposing pitchers in his pro debut – hitting .291 with 17 homers in 275 plate appearances. He struck out a lot (28%) but also walked a lot (12%) so I’m not super concerned. He’d be the first guy I take from last year’s new crop of talent – big fantasy potential from the left side of the plate and the diamond.
2. Alex Reyes, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Reyes has been around forever as a prospect mainly due to Tommy John surgery et al. That’s Latin for “I have had a lot of trouble staying healthy thus far.” Before being shut down in 2018, Reyes racked up 46 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched. That’s the sexy potential/ceiling – a frontline starter with big strikeout numbers. However, there is also the very real possibility he’s a reliever with big strikeout numbers, and also the non-zero chance he can’t stay healthy and is completely worthless. I don’t take those types of gambles, but I also haven’t left my house in a decade so take it with a grain of salt.
3. Jhon Torres, OF | Age: 18 | ETA: 2022
Torres might have just as much upside as Gorman. He’s a solid power/hit combo who slashed .321/.409./525 (not a typo) in 185 rookie league plate appearances. I don’t see his name around much, so he might not be owned in some shallower formats. I’d scoop him up if that’s the case. If he keeps this up in High-A etc. against better pitching, his stock will do that thing where it goes up really fast. Then you’ll look really smart even if you’re not wearing glasses.
4. Elehuris Montero, 3B | Age: 20 | ETA: 2021
This Cardinals farm is your typical white middle-class preschool roster…Andrew, Dylan, Dakota, Jhon (dyslexic parents – not his fault), Alex, Malcolm, Randy, Lane and Nolan. Imagine the culturally unresponsive teacher’s frustration when she gets to the new transfer student – Ele…Eleho…Elehue…well sweetie we’ll just call you Elvis okay? Love you though! You’re so ethnic! Montero split time between A and High-A ball and, well, went HAAM. For kicks – .315/.371/.504 with 16 homers. Yup. He good.
5. Malcolm Nunez, 1B/3B | Age: 17 | ETA: 2023
If a prospect on your roster can’t vote, serve in the military, or buy a pack of Newports, you need to be patient with their progress. Luckily, Nunez seems to have a lot of potential and should be worth the wait. Already graded as an above average power bat with a good approach, Nunez hit .415 with 13 homers in 200 rookie league appearances last season. It gets better though. He also paired a 15% strikeout rate with a 13% walk rate. Nunez is Spanish for ‘pick him up’.
6. Andrew Knizer, C | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
They’re not saying boo when a catcher appears in a top ten. They’re saying boo-urns. As in, it boo-urns like chlamydia when I realize I just drafted a catcher in anything higher than the 20th round. Knizer is decent though. He can hit and get on base, even if there isn’t much power to dream on. Even with a banged up Molina, I doubt we see Knizer before September.
7. Dakota Hudson, RHP | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Hudson is more likely to make an impact in 2019. He’s on the 40-man, has a double-plus fastball, and threw close to 140 innings between Triple-A and MLB last year. He made all of his appearances as a reliever for the Cards in 2018, but the recent injury to C-Mart has left an opening in the rotation to fight for. Hudson won’t have to be coddled like Reyes, but he also struggles with his control, which might pin him to the ‘pen.
8. Dylan Carlson, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2020
Carlson is a solid average hit/power right fielder who can attack pitchers from both sides of the plate. Take that, platoon-happy managers! He has a good approach and put up a .348 OBP in 2018 with a 12% walk rate and a 17% strikeout rate. The ceiling is 20+ homers in an everyday corner outfield role.
9. Lane Thomas, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2019
Thomas put up outstanding numbers AA and AAA in 2018 – 27 homers, 17 steals. The damper is that this power burst came out of the clear blue sky and most reports still have him pegged as a fourth outfielder in the big leagues. Another glitch is his health history – which isn’t exactly…healthy. He’s on the 40-man and could see some action this summer in St. Louis.
10. Randy Arozarena, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2019
Arozarena crushed in AA (.396) but struggled a good bit when he was promoted to AAA Memphis (.232). He’ll likely start the 2019 season there and I doubt we see him before September. His profile is pretty balanced (a touch low on power). Last seen getting helped into a cop car shouting, “I thought this was America!”. Nevermind…wrong Randy.